What you need to know:
- Residents have accused the county's Acting Chief Officer Health, Dr Eunice Fwaya, who attended the ceremony, of “sanctioning the laziness.”
- Dr Fwaya and county's acting county director of communication Mr Auscar Wambiya said the caregivers work hard to protect lives.
A nurses' welfare association in Siaya County has come under attack from area residents after announcing on social media that its members have founded a hearse business.
In a WhatsApp group, whose members include top county government officials including the governor Cornel Rasanga, Bondo Nurses Welfare Association member John Ogeya blasted his colleagues who are moving away from opening nursing homes and dispensaries to hearses.
"This is a step in the wrong direction by the nurses," Mr Ogeya said.
Area residents have also termed it as conflict of interest and unfair competition since the nurses work in hospitals.
Members of the nurses’ association spent Sh2.8 million to purchase and equip the hearse and held a small ceremony to celebrate their hard work.
The county's acting county director of communication Mr Auscar Wambiya shared photos of the ceremony on November 6, 2020 on the county government's social media account.
Residents have accused the county's Acting Chief Officer Health, Dr Eunice Fwaya, who attended the ceremony, of “sanctioning the laziness.”
But Dr Fwaya and Mr Wambiya defended the nurses saying that the caregivers work hard to protect lives when attending to patients but there is nothing they can do when patients succumb to illness.
Nurses are often the first point of contact with patients and spend the most time with them.
Cases have ben reported of nurses die in the line of duty or working without health insurance.
Nurses in Siaya have gone on strike to protest over, among many other industrial disputes, the lack of health insurance that leave them exposed to diseases and not affording care when they fall sick.
Mr Dominic Omolo, an official of the nurses' association, said the association broached the idea of running a hearse business in 2017 due to the high cost of burying their colleagues.
"Hiring a hearse from Kisumu costs at least Sh20,000," said Mr Omolo, who also coordinates the ambulance services in Siaya.
He said that the public will benefit from the hearse, saying that on numerous occasions, availability of hearses is an issue in the county where members of the public often request hospitals for ambulances to ferry the bodies of their loved ones.
"I often explain to them that the policy does not allow it, and you can see how dejected they are after that answer," said Mr Omolo.